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Eccentric and original album is a noble failure - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, July 4th, 2010

Got a scratched copy of this album without its sleeve and printed lyrics so this review is almost completely based on the music I've heard and on an interview Benighted Leams man Alex Kurtagic gave to Asgard Root zine (Spring 2008 issue) in which he admitted that he'd been under stress and had been feeling depressed during the time he made "Ferly Centesms".

The first thing about this album I noticed was Kurtagic's guitar-playing: it's very choppy and staccato so the music as a whole doesn't flow very well and goes in one direction for a while, then switches into a different direction. The sound is very clear, steely and sharp for a recording with very basic production, and there is a lot of space between the sounds and the bleak background. In several songs, starting with the title track near its end and the next track "Dynad of the Fylfot", there will be sharp metallic music blustering energetically along, only to suddenly die off into a short passage of quiet forlorn guitar strumming or cymbal taps against a cold spaced-out ambient shuffle drone, and then the music bursts into action again as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. This can be quite irritating especially as the music when it resumes gets no extra burst of vigour or energy from these short interludes where near-nothing happens but these ups and downs may reflect a depressed mental state where feelings of worthlessness and an inability to do anything can suddenly come and go without warning. The momentum in the music does suffer from these quiet disruptions and the liveliness flags but if we assume that "Ferly Centesms" is about what happens to a person suffering depressed moods, then the disruptions and their effect on the music have to be expected if done occasionally, not constantly as on the album.

The album is short enough that it can be heard in one sitting, the whimsically named songs coming and going in a sort of hiccup style like linked episodes in a work that gives an impression of existential struggle, dark sadness and ultimate despair. The album starts brightly with intro track "Floccinaucinihilipilification" whose dictionary meaning is the act or habit of calling something worthless, so you know from here on that everything may be going downhill, it's just a matter of how the sprightly and urgent guitar riffs and melodies lose their clear-toned brightness and jagged edge to end up in the cold, barren gloom of "The Ice Desert", the last track.

The structuring of the music is unusual: guitars are completely dominant over the deadened sound of the mostly basic drumming. Only a couple of tracks in the second half of the album make use of cymbals and only in the quiet parts of the music. A few songs in that part of the album feature drumming flourishes. I don't have the problem some people may have with the deadened percussion - it does help to have the album playing very loudly to hear everything - as the music is meant to be downbeat and lively drums up high in the mix might defeat the purpose. "Ferly Centesms" actually has quite a lot of aggression and energy going far into the recording so that when permanent gloom sets in, it still feels out of synch with the rest of the album even though there was plenty of advance warning in the musical lapses and the garbled lyrics. Perhaps some of that aggression should have weakened progressively with the album's progress.

I can definitely sense a closing-in, growing-darkness kind of quality in the music. The quiet interludes are very bleak and nihilistic and the guitars gradually lose their sparkly quality. The music lurches in spurts towards the dark end and at this point I find myself pondering the difficulties the theme of growing depression might impose on an album like "Ferly Centesms": how does a musician describe what depression does to you through music (the horrible moods that get worse, feeling your brain shrink and your intelligence, imagination and creativity decrease and go a bit strange) and get the listener's attention and sympathy on your side? The music must lose vitality and become less varied ... and less interesting for the audience. The lyrics that feature have to be listless and fragmented in their delivery which does no justice to their whimsical poetry.

I guess in a way "Ferly Centesms" could be called a noble failure: it has an original, refreshing style but given the nature of what I assume the album is about, the music is trapped within the subject's limitations and gets very repetitive over its playing time.

Could not find music.exe - 5%

Manwaring, March 8th, 2005

Ever wondered if you could get a record contract by just taking a drumachine and playing cliché dissonant riffs over it? Well guess what, you can't, unless you happen to own a label yourself. This album consists mostly of what I said above, just a guitar playing some "riffs" which I really shutter to call riffs, because normally riffs have some structure to them, or at least an attempt at song writing to musicianship. This band make Darkthrone look like Emerson Lake & Palmer, in terms of composition, and while musicianship has never been a requirement for black-metal, it's nice if once upon a time you create something remotely like music.

The strong ambient element here, is totally lost to the drumachine and horrid production, leaving us with what is essentially ...really...really bad black-metal. I can't fathom why anyone would listen to this.The album does bare a slight originality, but if you want original black-metal, try the much over hyped but still far better Velvet Cacoon. As they do a far better mix of ambient black-metal showing at least some aptitude for atmosphere.